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Clergy reject report on gay marriage opposition

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Church of England rejects report on attitudes to gay marriage

The Church of England's ruling body has rejected a call for continued opposition of same-sex marriage.

A report from bishops maintained that church marriages should be between a man and woman, and same-sex unions cannot be blessed.

The report did recommend establishing a "fresh tone and culture", where the Church would welcome and support lesbian and gay Christians.

The House of Clergy voted 100 to 93 against a motion to “take note” of the report. Although the overall synod (legislative body of the Church of England) had a majority in favour, the motion fell because it needed to pass in each house of the synod: bishops, clergy and laity.

The House of Bishops voted overwhelmingly (43 to 1) in favour, and the House of Laity backed the report by 106 votes to 83.

The Guardian suggests that the bishops' next step would be to press ahead with a proposal from the report - a teaching document for clergy on marriage and sexuality, which would not require the synod's approval.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, promised to rethink the report he supported. Concluding the debate, he said "there are no problems" with the opposition.

He said: "The current report is not the end of the story. We will - as the bishops - think again and go on thinking. We will seek to do better.

"It was right that this needs to be about love joy and celebration of our humanity, of our belonging to Christ, all of us without exception, without exclusion."

The bishops will now have to produce a new report on the issue, taking into account the views aired at the debate.

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